Lampard nets against former club to earn point
After the disappointment of the Bayern Munich game on Wednesday, City were back down to business in the Premier League with Jose Mourinho's Chelsea coming to town. The game was described by pundits as the biggest game of the season so far, and it was certainly one that didn't disappoint.
Manuel Pellegrini threw up a surprise before the game, handing a debut to Eliaquim Mangala; the French international was given the nod over Martin Demichelis. James Milner was also given a start, as were Sergio Aguero, Aleksandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta.
The game started as many expected, with City controlling the flow of possession and Chelsea packing out the midfield and trying to hit City on the counter. Yaya Toure, largely disappointing against Bayern, put in an excellent performance. The Ivorian seemed to relish the physical challenge of Nemanja Matic, and helped City to win the midfield battle in the opening stages.
A huge positive in the first half was the partnership of Kompany and Mangala. The two central defenders looked imperious, and used their physical presence to bully Diego Costa and didn't allow the Spanish striker any time on the ball. As the first half ended City were certainly the side in the ascendancy, but with nothing to show for their dominance.
The second half seemed to follow a similar pattern, and City's first chance of the game came from Sergio Aguero. The Argentine bustled his way through the Chelsea defence before firing low, forcing an excellent save from Courtois. The game finally started to become stretched, but in the 66th minute City found themselves down to ten men. Pablo Zabaleta, already on a yellow, inexplicably hacked down Diego Costa, leaving referee Mike Dean little choice but to award a second yellow.
With City down to ten men, Chelsea started to control the tempo of the game, and took the lead in the 74th minute. From a City corner, Chelsea broke swiftly on the counter, before Eden Hazard picked out Andre Schurrle with an excellent cross. The German international was given the simple job of tapping home from close range.
City responded by bringing on Jesus Navas and Frank Lampard, and the latter was given a rapturous reception from both sets of fans. From this point, it would have been easy for City to collapse but the character and mentality instilled in the players by the manager shone. James Milner certainly epitomised this, popping up in midfield, and even as a make shift left-back.
There was a lot of talk about Frank Lampard before the game, and how the former Chelsea star would perform against his old club. In the end, he showed his professionalism, helping City to fight their way back into the match, and scoring the equaliser courtesy of an excellent lay off from James Milner.
It was the least City deserved, and it showed why we are the Premier League Champions.